Displaying items by tag: technology
A member of the public made a freedom of information (FoI) request to the police, ‘Could you provide the number of officers at each rank and number of staff at each grade?’ What they received was not only a numerical table but, inadvertently, a huge Excel spreadsheet called ‘the source data, which should never have been released for public scrutiny on an FoI website. It was removed after 2½ - 3 hours once police became aware of it. Each line contains information from the top of the force down - surname and first initial, their rank, grade, where they are based and the unit they work in; including sensitive areas of surveillance and intelligence. The sensitive information exposes many in nationalist communities who were taking great care to keep who they work for a secret, in some cases even from friends and family. The scale of this error is enormous; the consequences cannot be evaluated. It is probably the worst data breach in the organisation's history.
British lawmakers warn that imported technology embedded in Chinese electric vehicles could be used to harvest information on drivers. With China leading the global EV market, cheaper Chinese vehicles are expected to dominate UK automotive sales. A cross-party group of MPs have expressed concern to the government that Britain is on the verge of handing control of critical infrastructure to Beijing, with all of the ‘associated security risks.’ An unnamed senior government official said that if it is manufactured in China, how certain can you be that it won’t be a vehicle for collecting intel and data? Why have electric vehicles manufactured by countries that already spy using technology? Why wouldn’t they do the same here? The UK already suspects China’s technology imports are a security risk and barred Huawei from the 5G network in 2020, ordering all equipment and services to be removed by the end of 2023.
Catloaf Software’s ‘Text with Jesus’ app allows users to have real-time text conversations using Artificial Intelligence (AI) with digital Mary, Joseph apostles, prophets, and Jesus. Catloaf said technology gives new ways to interact with scripture and explore faith. Another ChatGPT based app offers ‘Biblemate’ claiming it answers any question using only the Bible and theological insights. However some Christians view this technology as heretical. Minister and technologist, Chris Goswami, welcomes the tool but emphasises that it should never be seen as Spirit-filled, highlighting the limitations of AI's spiritual understanding. Meanwhile an animal advocacy group used ChatGPT to modify Genesis with a vegan perspective, replacing animals as beings and the use of plants for clothing not animal skins. Catloaf said they’re not looking to replace traditional Bible study but to offer a tool that makes Bible narratives immediate and personal.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, uses the Bible to train its artificial intelligence (AI) speech tool. The project includes recordings of Bible stories, evangelistic messages, Scripture, and songs in more than 6,255 languages and dialects. In a sense, the Bible is helping AI learn other languages. Wycliffe USA Bible Translators have been using machine-assisted drafting for two decades, changing and modifying it as time goes on. Using technology to accelerate Bible translation is a priority. AI is notably beneficial in sign language Bible translation. Less than 2% of the world’s deaf population can access the Gospel in a known sign language, but that is about to change for deaf people in sensitive countries. Putting a deaf believer on camera is too risky in some countries. That’s where the Chameleon avatar project comes in. AI is not perfect yet, but the problems are being corrected to make the avatar smoother and more accurate.
The government is allowing millions of citizens to fall behind due to digital exclusion, the House of Lords has warned. As services move online at an unprecedented rate, the report by the Lords communications and digital committee found significant numbers lacking the means and skills needed to get online. The cost of living crisis has exacerbated affordability issues, with up to 1 million people cutting off their broadband due to their finances, while half of people over 75 lacked basic digital skills. Some young people are doing homework at church youth groups because they can’t access the internet at home. The House of Lords is urging the Prime Minister to take urgent action to tackle digital exclusion as 2.4 million people cannot complete a single digital task and five million will be digitally under-skilled by 2030. Pray that the disabled, aged, and socio-economically challenged may have the help they need.
This year’s London Tech Week focused on the need for artificial intelligence (AI) to be trustworthy and responsive to the needs of society. UK Research and Innovation has funded £50 million to create secure AI to help solve major challenges by bringing experts from different fields together. Professor Gregory O’Hare said, ‘AI offers profound opportunities, but could also be used for sinister means with financial or political implications, like boundary incursions and even wars. Will it always be used for good purpose, or is there a significant chance it will be used for Machiavellian purposes? AI is developing at a faster pace than laws can be drafted in response.’ The Irish Congress of Trade Unions said they should be involved at an early stage when addressing AI concerns as the EU AI Act is not suitable and is more than disappointing from workers’ point of view. It offers some comfort but ‘doesn’t go far enough’.
Russia-aligned hackers are seeking to disrupt or destroy Britain's critical infrastructure, says cabinet office minister Oliver Dowden. He warned that groups have started to focus on the UK in recent months, and unveiled new measures to support businesses ‘on the front line of our cyber defences’. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will issue an official threat alert to critical businesses. Officials are recommending that organisations, such as those behind the UK's energy and water supplies, act now to protect themselves against the emerging cyber threat. The hacking groups are often sympathetic to Russia's invasion in Ukraine and are ideologically motivated. ‘They are also less predictable because they are not subject to state control. Some want to achieve more disruptive and destructive impacts against western critical national infrastructures, including the UK’, said the NCSC. These groups will look for opportunities to create an impact, particularly if systems are poorly protected. See also the Europe article, ‘EU: growing cyber threats’.
When Russia initiated its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a second, less visible battle in cyberspace got under way. The conflict has blurred the lines between those working for the military and the unofficial activist hackers. Oleksandr, one of the most prominent hackers in the vigilante group, the 200,000-strong IT Army of Ukraine, has helped to temporarily disable hundreds of Russian websites, disrupted services at dozens of banks and defaced websites. For over a year, he has devoted himself to causing as much chaos in Russia as possible. He recently joined a team of hackers called One Fist, to hijack Russian radio stations and broadcast the sound of fake air raid sirens and an alert message telling citizens to take shelter. ‘We feel ourselves like the military’, says Oleksandr. ‘When my country calls me to pick up a rifle I am ready, but hacking Russia now, I feel that I am helpful.’
The European Commission has announced plans to shield itself against cyber-attacks, as threats in this sector continue to grow. The defence system will be based on the prevention and detection of cyber-attacks, thanks to a pan-European ‘cyber-shield’ made up of public and private centres. This will mean entrusting part of the bloc's defence to private companies and forcing member states to cooperate, which Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president of the EC, says is necessary. ‘No one can solve this alone. You cannot have sufficient resources ready because you don't know when you will have an all-out cyberattack,’ Vestager said. ‘We have seen cyberattacks on the Irish health system. We have seen attacks giving access to foreign ministries go undiscovered for months. The proposals, costing €1.1 billion, will have to be reviewed by member states and the European parliament before being implemented.
Less than 2% of deaf people follow Jesus. A new form of sign language technology can now transform presenting Scripture to a deaf person. ‘Chameleon’ features a digital avatar, or animated character, signing the Bible to the viewer. Chameleon technology offered by Wycliffe Bible Translators and global partners transcends race and culture. ‘As a white man, if I sign the Bible to another culture, I don't want that culture to think the Scripture is merely “the white man's beliefs”.’ The avatar can be converted to the local nationality, making the translator's appearance anonymous. Filming someone signing the gospel in one of these countries can be dangerous. The avatar allows Christian sign language to be presented in countries unfriendly to the Bible while protecting the person responsible for the translation. A win for the deaf community, taking Bible translation to the next level.